Florida Man Arraigned On Drug And Gun Charges Following Raid On Yacht

David Creed •

Jess Conn
A Coast Guard patrol boat is seen here tied to the motor yacht Jess Conn in Nantucket Harbor on Sept. 5, 2023 as authorities investigate. Photo by Kit Noble

The Florida man whose yacht was raided on Tuesday by the Nantucket Police Department and Drug Enforcement Agency was arraigned in Nantucket District Court Wednesday. He is expected to appear in Plymouth District Court on Thursday, September 7 between 11:30 and 12 p.m. for a dangerousness hearing.

Scott Anthony Burke, 69, of Key Largo, Florida, was arraigned on charges of possession of a firearm without an FID card (two counts), possession of ammunition without an FID (two counts), possession of a Class B substance (cocaine), trafficking a Class B substance over 36 grams but less than 100 grams (cocaine; approximately 43.4 grams), possession with the intent to distribute a Class A substance (ketamine; approximately 14.1 grams), possession of a firearm without an FID, and possession of a large capacity feeding device (four counts).

Burke had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf and was held in the Barnstable House of Corrections overnight in anticipation of Thursday's dangerousness hearing. If found to be a danger to the community, Burke could be held in jail for up to 120 days up until trial.

Judge James Sullivan, who was named Nantucket District Court’s new first justice back in February, continues to sit in Plymouth as well and will be the Judge overseeing Thursday’s hearing.

Burke can only be held and found dangerous if the judge determines that Cape & Islands assistant district attorney Michael Preble, who will be the prosecutor arguing for dangerousness on the state’s behalf, has presented clear and convincing evidence that there are no conditions of release that will reasonably assure the safety of the community.

The charges against Burke stem from Tuesday's raid of his 70-foot motor yacht anchored in Nantucket Harbor by Nantucket Police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after a woman was evacuated from the vessel, named the Jess Conn, and taken to an ambulance waiting at the town pier.

The initial response to the vessel was due to a "report of a female party, on board a yacht, who did not want to be there, was under the influence of narcotics, and possibly has overdosed," according to a police report.

Investigators, including a DEA special agent, boarded and searched the Jess Conn at 3:25 p.m., according to court documents obtained by the Current. They confiscated 43.4 grams of cocaine, 14.1 grams of ketamine, and two pistols - a .380 Smith Wesson Shield and a 9mm Smith & Wesson - along with various ammunition.

After being read his Miranda rights following the initial boarding of the vessel Tuesday morning, Burke told police he was the owner of the boat, that the pistols belonged to him, and that he had a license to carry firearms. Police determined that Burke had a license to carry in Florida which had expired in September 2022.

Burke is a retired physician who practiced in Colorado and founded Denver Spine and Rehab. He is currently the CEO of Injury Finance, LLC, which provides medical lien services for third-party liability claims.

This story will be updated.

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